Asia Credit House SC Lowy Buys Italian Lender to Expand Into EU
By Lianting Tu
(Bloomberg) — SC Lowy, a financial group focusing on fixed income, has acquired more than 90 percent of Credito di Romagna SpA for 50 million euros ($62 million) to expand its credit business in Europe.
It bought a controlling holding in the northern Italian bank, according to a joint statement from the two parties on Tuesday. The deal marks the second major acquisition for the almost decade-old SC Lowy, which purchased a stake in a South Korean lender in 2013.
“We want to replicate what we built in Asia in Europe,” said Michel Lowy, chief executive officer at Hong Kong-based SC Lowy, in an interview. “We are all about credit trading and illiquid assets, and Italy is currently the largest market for bad loans and distressed assets in Europe.”
Lowy said there are not enough financial institutions to serve local businesses in Italy as many banks there are undercapitalized. He plans to add business lines, including special situations and syndicated loans, to Credito di Romagna’s existing commercial lending operations.
Credito di Romagna, founded in 2003, had over 25,000 customers and total client loans and deposits exceeding 1.2 billion euros as at Dec. 31, according to the statement.